Blue Jays, Rajai Davis Agree To Two-Year Deal

The Blue Jays avoided arbitration with Rajai Davis and agreed to sign the outfielder to a two-year deal, the team announced. The deal, which includes a club option for 2013, guarantees Davis $5.75MM. He'll earn $2.5MM in 2011, $2.75MM in 2012 and could earn $3MM if the team exercises its 2013 option. If not, he'll obtain a $500K buyout, according to the AP (via the Miami Herald).

The deal covers Davis' second and third seasons of arbitration eligibility and includes an option for his fourth arbitration season. Davis, a super two player, earned $1.35MM in 2010 before the A's traded him to Toronto.

In 561 plate appearances last year, the 30-year-old hit .284/.320/.377 with 50 stolen bases in 61 attempts. He has 143 steals and a .330 OBP in parts of five big league seasons. Davis joins Travis Snider, Vernon Wells and, potentially, Jose Bautista in the Blue Jays' outfield. The team's commitment to Davis suggests GM Alex Anthopoulos believes Davis can continue to be an everyday player.

60 Responses to Blue Jays, Rajai Davis Agree To Two-Year Deal Leave a Reply

  1. j6takish 5 years ago

    Wells to left….?

    • renegade24 5 years ago

      Wells isn’t moving until Wells says so or until it’s worth pissing him off to move him. (i.e. until Marisnick, Gose arrive). You need to keep Wells in a premium position – ANYTHING to make that contract look better. Davis’ UZR in CF last year somehow was worse than Wells. (Yes, I know he was vastly superior in 2008, 2009).

  2. Motor_City_Bombshell 5 years ago

    Isn’t this a little much..? I don’t understand this one, AA…

    • Sniderlover 5 years ago

      I wouldn’t say it’s too much. Davis had a down year last year but before that, he had a .360 OBP. He can steal and play defense so it’s decent money. I’m not quite understanding the 2 years part unless they think there is more to Davis and being out of that pitchers park may help Davis, in terms of homeruns.

      It’s not that much money or that many years so I am fine with it and I like what Davis brings. I just hope AA doesn’t see him as our full-time starter.

      • Motor_City_Bombshell 5 years ago

        I understand that, thanks for giving some of that info because I’m not entirely knowledgable on Davis although I’ve seen him play a few times. And I do feel like in a perfect world Davis wouldn’t be an everyday player, but I feel kind of like AA is giving him everyday money. I don’t think it would be the end of the world if he was either though. Fred Lewis got paid $900K and I feel like Davis isn’t $1.6MM better than Lewis, the price is a little high.

  3. Davis will play RF as Bautista will be moved 3rd this year.

    • Adil 5 years ago

      no, davis is likely to play lf or cf. replaces fred lewis

      but the salary is a little surprising, didnt fred lewis get less than a 1mil, he isnt that much better

      • Sniderlover 5 years ago

        Snider will play LF and Wells will play CF. Sorry but Wells is not moving to RF for Davis as Davis isn’t really better. If it’s someone like Bourjos (using it as an example) who is looking like a stud defensively, then veterans will move over for him like Tori did.

        He is beter than Lewis. He steals more and is better defensively. Had .360 OBP in 2009 as well. If he keeps that OBP around .340-.350, then he is much better than Lewis.

      • renegade24 5 years ago

        Travis Snider is in LF. And Fred Lewis is terrible.

    • Eddie_Sprague 5 years ago

      unless they sign chavez, then Davis will rotate playing time in the OF.

  4. He’s got a decent batting avg, great speed, and granted he could use a OBP boost, but it’s not as bad as people are making it out to be. As a Braves fan, I wouldn’t mind having him at that price.

  5. BooJays33 5 years ago

    what don’t you understand..going into 2011 he’s our everyday LF and leadoff hitter. give him security. if the avg. ballplayer is making 3.2 then this guy is worth 2.5

    • Lunchbox45 5 years ago

      he doesn’t get on base enough to be an everyday lead off batter

      I love the speed, I mean if this guy could get on base at a /360-.380 rate consistently you would see rickey henderson type SB numbers…but he doesn’t.. I don’t mind the salary, its the 2nd year that i find odd.

  6. renegade24 5 years ago

    Davis is the perfect 4th outfielder. Really wish AA signed/traded for a 3B and kept Bau at RF. Or at least, got a legit RF so Bau’s move was warranted. I just don’t think Davis gets on base enough to bat lead-off.

    • I agree with you. If AA and his staff can acquire a third baseman they can start Bautista in right and Davis can be the fourth outfielder. His great speed on the basepaths and solid defense at every outfield position could:

      1) Provide Vernon Wells with 6-12 days off per year in centerfield to keep his legs rested.
      2) Be a superb pinch runner on days when he isn’t starting.
      3) Be an able depth guy in case of injuries to the starting outfielders or third baseman (with Jose moving to third).

      He really is the perfect fourth outfielder for this team and he came at a reasonable price. My best guess is that for 2011 he will indeed be a starting corner outfielder, but in 2012 (and maybe 2013) his role will be reduced if Brett Lawrie breaks through in AA and/or AAA this year and looks ready to break camp with the team.

      • Josh Stuart 5 years ago

        I was really bullish when we signed him, but the more I thought about… he really is the perfect 4th outfield for exactly those reasons.

  7. rzepczynski 5 years ago

    second year is wierd… I guess he is the starting outfielder now cannot see him being paid for two years to be a 4th outfielder

    • renegade24 5 years ago

      Why not? 2.5$ million is equivalent to like a 0.6 WAR player in this market.

      • alxn 5 years ago

        No reason to give a 4th OF under team control a market value deal

        • renegade24 5 years ago

          Except, he has 4.5 WAR in the past 2 years. My whole point was that it was below market value for what he provides. No point in saying that he’s a 4th outfielder when it’s clear, by this contract, that he’s the starting RF.

      • rzepczynski 5 years ago

        I know that the money is fine it’s just he was under team control anyways, makes it seem like AA is looking for cost certainty because he thinks he will post something like a 290/355/420 with 60 steals

  8. it’s cost certainty. easier to trade an asset when you have set salary. I see this as nothing but a stopgap until Thames, Lawrie or Gose comes up.

  9. i mean Sierra

  10. Good signing by the Jays–Davis has plenty of speed and his OBP should improve from last year. I wonder which OF position Davis will play.

    • Lunchbox45 5 years ago

      I’m going to have to assume LF

      Snider in RF
      Wells in C.

  11. oldguschiggins 5 years ago

    2nd & 3rd year options means less work for AA to do moving forward with regards to arbitration, and keeps him under control in the case he becomes a type B after the 2nd year (assuming that system stays in place post CBA). If they think he costs too much, he’s a relatively easily moved asset for a PTBNL or bullpen arm (clearly we need more of those….) It’s on the cheap, relatively long-term, team friendly, contract. Also on this team a .340 OBP is better than almsot anyone not named Bautistsa I dont think anyone wants him leading off

  12. NWDC 5 years ago

    So he’ll be on the Hall of Fame Ballot in 2016?

  13. atomicme123 5 years ago

    It means Jo-Bau to 3rd and Chavez as depth/injury insurance. Davis is not an ideal OBP guy but he should get the pitcher’s attention once he ever gets on. That should benefit the guy hitting behind him in the order, likely to see more fastball. This team is loaded with fastball hackers, so it should be a good move

  14. BlueJaysFan4Life 5 years ago

    why does everyone still hate on Verns defence??? Did you watch any games last year? He had a great year defensively, I admit 09 wasn’t very good by his standards. His range is still better than most CF’S, what he lacks in speed he makes up for taking the best route to the ball. He’s very good at getting a great jump on the ball and that more than makes up for whatever he lacks in range which isn’t much. Raj is given a decent contract because he will have plenty of opportunity to be an everyday fielder…if its not working out a couple months into the season he will be a great 4th of/pinch runner. I think he will be good everyday player, and this is a solid deal. Not many have his potential for steals. maybe a handful of guys. We have been starving for steals, he will hold it down till Gose comes up.

    • Josh Stuart 5 years ago

      Disquis needs a DISLIKE button. At best he’s a league average CF, he’d be an above average RF though…. we’re not hating on Wells, just saying!

      • BlueJaysFan4Life 5 years ago

        If he’s average… name me 14 centre fielders better than him. Im not saying he’s a 4 hitter or he is the best centerfielder in baseball because he not. However his work proves he’s in the top 5-10. Is he overpaid yes – not my problem.

  15. BlueJaysFan4Life 5 years ago

    That being said, I do prefer Jose in right field however with our team needing speed where else are we gonna find speed? Hill and Escobar are locked in at 2nd and SS (the speed positions), DH 1st 3rd and C are low speed positions. That leaves only the OF…where Wells is going nowhere, Snider needs to play…leaving an OF spot for a speedy player and playing Bautista at 3rd… if you play Bau in RF…your fastest player becomes Escobar at leadoff, I think he’s a good 2nd hitter. So good job AA!

    • Great teams often have good team speed, but I don’t think that it’s necessarily an essential ingredient and I also disagree that you need to have one guy on your team who is a big time speed guy. If you get on base at a good rate and hit for enough power you don’t need speed and I don’t think having great speed replaces the need for power. Is it a nice thing to have players with good speed? Certainly, and that speed can help you on defense as well (as it clearly does in Davis’ case, he is a good defender). However, if Edwin Encarnacion were even a close to average defensive third baseman then I would be totally in favour of starting Bautista in right and E5 at third base. If the Jays can acquire somebody else that can get on base at the same rate as Davis and hit for more power while playing third base decently I’d be inclined to keep Davis on the bench as the fourth outfielder.

      Another option might be to pick up a player to platoon with Davis. Check out these platoon splits:

      vs. LHP
      2009: .316BA/.376OBP/.397SLG%
      2010: .304BA/.349OBP/.435SLG%
      CAREER: .292BA/.347OBP/.402SLG%

      vs. RHP
      2009: .299BA/.352OBP/.437SLG%
      2010: .276BA/.309OBP/.357SLG%
      CAREER: .277BA/.321OBP/.375SLG%

      So, against LHP, Davis not only hits for slightly more power and draws walks at a slightly higher rate than he does against RHP, but also hits for a batting average fifteen points higher. He’s a significantly more dangerous hitter against lefties than he is against righties. If the Jays could find a hitter in the Frank Catalanotto mold (NOT Franky C himself at this age, obviously) who can hit righties well, but struggles against lefties to platoon with him then that would be an alternative to finding a third baseman too. Jose could move to third.

      • BlueJaysFan4Life 5 years ago

        I do agree a good team doesn’t necessarily need one speed guy… but I believe the Blue Jays lineup needed to add that type of player. I don’t think the team speed is there (no slouches tho) and not getting a speed guy is the same as getting a fred lewis. Raj is an improvement over fred lewis. Look at what ellsbury has done for the redsox, crawford with the rays, and gardner with the yanks. A major speed guy is a huge help…Blue Jays have shown the power, they need a new way to manufacture runs…if Raj can steal 50 bases…it may mean another 10-20 runs. Not only this, his great speed changes the way a pitcher pitches to the rest of the order. You cant ignore the impact he makes while on base, so whatever he lacks in OBP, he makes up for it with what he does to a pitchers mind state. Raj in of/jose at 3rd is a better combo than enc at 3rd/bau in oF. Raj is an above average fielder, edwin is below average.

        • Wins are a function of runs scored and runs allowed. Every run that you add on offense is equal regardless of how you add it. You don’t need speed for the sake of having speed and adding more speed to the lineup isn’t the only way to add more runs. As an alternative to adding speed you could get on base more or hit for more power.

          The same thing goes for run prevention. You don’t need to improve your pitching to allow fewer runs. You can allow fewer runs by getting better defensively at one or more positions.

          There are many ways to add more runs on offense or allow fewer runs on defense and fielding a team that wins more games isn’t necessarily a function of having a balance of all of them. In theory you can have a winning team simply by being a amazing at one or two things and passable at the others.

      • BlueJaysFan4Life 5 years ago

        I didn’t say we need a speed guy anyways…I said we need to improve speed…and the only way to IMPROVE the team speed is by getting rid of someone at a speed position hill, esco, wells, snider which isn’t gonna happen. This was the only way to improve speed without moving anyone. Raj is very versatile.

      • TdotsFinest 5 years ago

        u should check out corey patterson’s stats against righties…actually pretty good!

  16. BlueJaysFan4Life 5 years ago

    Hey, anyone know where I can get good spring training tickets for jays first game vs tigers??? Not good tickets available on website (well not bad, but I want front rows)

    • Lunchbox45 5 years ago

      front rows are prob reserved for team brass, scouts, evaluators and stuff.

    • 2UGGLA2BINTO 5 years ago

      check ebay, that is where I got mine last year…2nd row first base line

      • BlueJaysFan4Life 5 years ago

        Ive heard first row (a) is restricted view. sounds like yours most have been good. thank you i will look!

    • 2UGGLA2BINTO 5 years ago

      …epic seats….

  17. EddieWinslow 5 years ago

    Even Rajai Davis’ career OBP of .330 is substantially better than the .313 OBP that the Jays got from the leadoff position last year. If he could even keep his OBP around .345-.360 it would be the best in-house option for the Jays at the lead-off position. Obviously not ideal, but the best that they have for this season.

  18. does anyone think davis will hit better with all the jays power behind him?? he had absolutely nobody behind him in oakland

  19. renegade24 5 years ago

    If you’re referring to 2007, 190 AB’s isn’t all that indicative of anything. I think he’s somewhere around a .340 OBP guy, which isn’t good enough for leadoff.

  20. renegade24 5 years ago

    It’s true but it doesn’t matter. Rajai Davis won’t be pushing him there.

  21. baseballz 5 years ago

    I don’t think his noodle arm would play well in right – he’s got good range still, but he wouldn’t be able to keep anyone from taking second or going to third.

  22. Sniderlover 5 years ago

    Well actually has a pretty good arm but you don’t see him use it often.

  23. Lunchbox45 5 years ago

    noodle arm :S?

    IF anything his arm is stronger now than when he first came up… his wallet is pretty heavy

  24. TdotsFinest 5 years ago

    i guess i was lookin’ at least years numbers lol

  25. BlueJaysFan4Life 5 years ago

    very insightful! If you care to notice, most people on this site have a pretty good understanding of baseball, as evident from their written opinions. If you were to argue your point in an intellectual way with an explanation I would atleast respect your opinion. If you want to complain, call in to your radio station like many morons do!

  26. BlueJaysFan4Life 5 years ago

    lol… thanks for proving my point exactly. what a joke, most of these players have never done anything in there career. Vern has won gold gloves and made all star teams and has been top 10 in mvp voting. None of these players ever will. Vern isn’t as good as he once was, but he is top 5 on your list…oh and you forgot tori hunter dummy!

  27. BlueJaysFan4Life 5 years ago

    You wouldn’t find a GM in baseball who would trade Vern for these players… the ones that are better defensively couldn’t hit more than 5 home runs in a season! Other than uptown, jones, young, i wouldn’t trade vern for any of them

  28. BlueJaysFan4Life 5 years ago

    ya he was 9th out of 30 by stats (which isn’t everything)…. so how is he below average?

  29. BlueJaysFan4Life 5 years ago

    how can u say these players are better defensively…because of a year of stats? vern is coming off injury years and was finally healthy last year. Vernon had the best fielding percentage in the MLB last year, his range isn’t the greatest but he doesn’t make many mistakes… vern has more golden gloves than years played of half the guys on your list…be realistic now. your a hater.

  30. PJaysW 5 years ago

    It’s all about the cool hats. I’m a jays fan but the B on BoSox hats is so dope brah. My hat is red/navy every other panel! With a giant B and a little giant B dogg. 😉

  31. PJaysW 5 years ago


  32. mhunke 5 years ago

    Why, cause no one is able to statistically prove it?

  33. but unlike many beliefs, there is some logic involved

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